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Aug 16

Beyond the Sky

Courtesy Fox Searchlight.

Since the beginning of time, mankind has explored — never satisfied with what they see before them, always in search of something more. Searching for the unknown has led to many great discoveries. It has also lead to grave destruction. What if I told you there’s another you, on a planet just like Earth? Would you want to go? Is the idea of seeing a replica of yourself enough to make you travel into space? What would you give to start anew? These ideas are explored in Another Earth.

 

Tragedy

Rhoda has just gotten accepted into MIT’s astrophysics program. She’s at a party, celebrating with her friends.  On her way home, listening to the radio, she hears that another Earth has just been discovered. She leans out of her car window to get a look at the blue sphere in the sky and as she is taking in this phenomenon, she crashes into a man, his pregnant wife, and their five-year old son. The boy is thrown from the car. The husband is unconscious. The wife and unborn child are dead; it was a girl.

 

Wanted to know more

Working as a janitor at her old high school, Rhoda applies to win a trip to the other Earth. She wins the essay contest and gives her ticket to Mr. Burroughs, the man whose family was killed in the accident, telling him that, “The moment we recognized each other, we were out of sync.” She was referring to the moment when people on Earth and the other Earth realized that the other existed. I also think that applied to their relationship, which had grown without his knowledge of who she really is.

When a fellow janitor blinds and deafens himself because he is “tired of seeing himself”, it brings back the idea that more is going on between the two planets. I took that to have multiple meanings. One, that he could not live with whatever he had done in life and therefore looking in the mirror became impossible. Two, that he saw his twin from the other Earth. Three, that no matter what you change or suppress, you cannot run from who you are and what you have done.

 

What I liked

The characters did an amazing job at conveying emotions. When Rhoda works up the nerve to confront Mr. Burroughs, her nervousness is so apparent, you too feel nervous. As she awkwardly moves around his house, you sense the anxiety. Too often in movies, actors overact and the emotions they are expressing seem forced and exaggerated. The characters in this movie are belieaveable.

 

What I did not like…and do not like in any movie

At the end of the movie, having just seen Mr. Burroughs on TV, Rhoda is walking around the side of her house. Her fingers are tracing the outline, and then her fingers stop. She stops moving altogether. Right in front of her face is… (I won’t ruin it) and then the screen goes black. What I hate about movies that make you think, is that they leave you with so many unanswered questions all never to be answered as this isn’t the type of movie to have a sequel.

The question of whether we’re here alone is not new. The weirdest organisms are found in the most peculiar places. We accept that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth, and that humans were not humans at all but once animals, and yet it is hard for so many of us to imagine life outside of our planet. Well, to anyone that may be out there, if you’re reading this: Hello.

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